ARE 5.0 Scoring System

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Patrick,

    Yes, all questions in ARE 5.0 will be worth one point. Not answering a question is the same as answering it incorrectly, so it's best to attempt every question. There will be no partial credit for any questions, and there are no separate sections similar to the vignettes.

    You can read more info about the exam in the ARE 5.0 Guidelines, as well as here on our website: http://www.ncarb.org/News-and-Events/News/2016/Feb-ARE5-Update.aspx

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    Patrick Zimmerman

    Thanks Michelle. So even though the case studies are kind of like their own discreet section, it's not graded as its own section?

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    Michelle NCARB

    Right, all the case study questions will be presented in a group, but they're not separated out for scoring.

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    Jonathan Kellogg

    Is there a set number of questions or percentage of a particular section a candidate is required to achieve to pass? For example Project Planning and Design has five total sections ( Environmental Conditions & Context, Codes & Regulations, Building Systems Materials & Assemblies, Project Integration of Program & Systems, and Project Costs and Budgeting) say for whatever reason I get every question wrong on the Environmental Conditions & Context section would I automatically fail the exam or is it strictly based on the overall exam and the generated cut score?

    (If you are weak in certain areas but strong in others can you rely on your strengths to offset those weaknesses?)

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Jonathan,

    In some ways, both scenarios you suggest are correct.  The division score is simply the total of how many questions you answered correctly (across all content areas), so you could get a passing score for the division even if you don't do well in one content area - if you did really well in other content areas to make up for it.  

    Although the individual sections are not scored separately, it's worth noting that some make up a larger percentage of the division than others.  Since you mention PPD - notice that Project Integration of Program & Systems is quite large, so poor performance in that area would likely result in failing the division.

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    Jonathan Kellogg

    Thank you for the clarification Michelle. That is a good point and makes perfect sense.

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    Joanne Burch

    I'm bummed that there is no partial credit given to any question because I just took the demo exam and in several of the questions that had multiple answers I got all of the them right except for one. For instance in the bubble diagram of the event center I just flip flopped the retail and hospitality suite and in another question where you have a wall section that needed to be labeled, I got everything right except one item in the wall sections each question. Without partial credit this entire question would be marked incorrect.  I think partial credit should be given in these instances but I guess that decision has already been made.

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    Joanna Rodriguez-Noyola

    Hi Michelle,

    Why is there no descriptive feedback on passing score reports? Is there a way to know whether one passed the test with a great score vs. barely passing? I think knowing which areas I did better on could help me in other tests as well as overall professional development. I.E. i just passed PcM and am studying for PjM, I think knowing which areas (finances/ budgeting, contracts) I did well on could help me study.

    Thanks! 

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Joanna,

    Good question, and it's one we've answered before.  Use the content area descriptions in the Handbook to guide your studying for any particular division.

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    Hudson Veloso

    Michelle,

    If all of the questions are worth 1 point including the case studies then hypothetically speaking if you got all of the multiple choice correct and got the two case study questions wrong would you still receive a passing score?

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Hudson,

    First thing, you'll see a lot more than two case study questions!  There are typically 10 to 20 questions per case study, and 1 or 2 case studies per division.  You will not pass the exam if you skip the case studies.  Be sure to give those questions as much effort as you do the non-case study questions.

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    Hudson Veloso

    Thank you for the response! I was misunderstanding it then. So each of the questions pertaining to the case study is worth 1 point each. 

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    Michelle NCARB

    Yes, every question on the ARE is worth 1 point, whether or not it's part of a case study.

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    Louis Mari

    I totally agree with Joanna. Why not provide testers with more feedback for a passing score? Maybe descriptive feedback is not necessary, but at least a score would be helpful for our professional development, as Joanna mentioned. It would be good to know which areas we tested better on, or which areas we have a better command of.  

    I don't really buy NCARB's answer "Descriptive feedback is not provided on passing score reports as the exam is designed to assess your ability to practice architecture—not to be used as a “teaching tool.”.  That's a pretty one way street.  Shouldn't you be trying to make us better architects?  Providing a score would easily do that.  For example, suppose I realize that I just barely passed CE.  I might then take it upon myself to strengthen that area before going into practice. 

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Louis,

    A few things to comment on here...first, the exam is not a tool for you.  It's a tool for your state licensure board to see that you've demonstrated competency in various content areas.  The board doesn't care if you did just okay or amazingly awesome - they care that you've met the threshold for competence.

    And again, the exam is not a teaching tool.  That's what your education and experience are for.  It's incumbent on you to look out for your own career development.  If you're feeling shaky in the CE content areas, you probably don't need an exam to tell you that - you'll know it based on your work experience.

    Finally, we don't provide scores on the ARE for multiple reasons, but a big one is for your own privacy.  Doing so might open the door for employers - or potential future employers - to make salary/hiring decisions based on your exam performance, perhaps relative to others' exam performance.  But that's not how the exam is scored, so you wouldn't want others (whether employers or your state board) to interpret your exam results in that way.

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Michelle -- thanks for posting that.  Very direct, and it makes sense.

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    Briana Jones

    Michelle,

    Is there any record stored on the exam that NCARB can review a trail of answers or actions taken on one's exam? For instance, I am having an issue where my highlights and markups were removed from my exam multiple times while taking it. Is there any history that shows that I marked up a problem, and then it being unmarked on your end? I reported all issues to prometric but since it was not noted on their end that the error was eliminating my markups I am told I am at fault. 

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Briana,

    I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties you encountered at the test center.  Our system includes a record of all the responses selected during the exam but not when the highlight or strikethrough tools were used.

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    Briana Jones

    Michelle,

    Still pretty disappointed with the ethics of it all but thank you for your swift reply and support!

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    Jonathan Chertok

    michelle,
    one part of this thread doesn’t make any sense.
    if each question is counted as ONE POINT and the exams are 120 (roughly) questions and case studies is 20 questions (roughly) - why would skipping case studies not potentially result in a passing score? i mean your statement seems to indicate very strongly that you have to spend time in case studies.
    and frankly - coming from 4.0 - the less confusion regarding this type of topic the better.
    i mean - this should not be advanced math here.
    THANKS

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    Nick NCARB (Edited )

    Hey Jonathan,

    Just to clarify, you could technically skip the two case studies completely if there are only 10 questions in each (which isn't guaranteed), but you better be EXTREMELY confident that you answered almost all of your other discrete items correctly. As Michelle said above, it is very unlikely that you will pass a division if you skip the case studies. 

     

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